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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  September 8, 2010 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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thanks for joining us. tonight, breaking news, the imam who wants to build that islamic community center and mosque near ground zero is breaking his silence for the first time since the controversy erupted, saying
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whether he is willing to move the mosque or not. u.s. military says burning the koran will endanger our troops. does the pastor care? we'll ask him. he also says he's doing this to honor the 9/11 victims. but does he even know the names of any of those who lost their lives? find out in a moment. later, what appears to be new evidence in the case of a congresswoman who gave her relatives and her staffers' relatives tens of thousands in charity scholarship money, instead of to needy kids in her district, like she was supposed to. she says she wasn't paying attention to it. but now, we have letters that appear to be just the opposite, evidence that, if true, she was steering the scholarships not to the colleges but directly into her relatives' pockets. a poverty is planning on burning korans. he says it's to honor those killed on 9/11 and to send a message to radical islamists around the world. his message is being heard by all muslims around the world. and the outrage is growing. largest islamic country in the world, protesters rallying in jakarta.
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in the streets of kabul, flag-burning, people chanting "death to america" because of this preacher's plan. david petraeus, trying to win muslims' hearts and minds, says what pastor joe is planning on doing could endanger our troops on the front lines. so, we wondered if the pastor of this small church cares about that, cares about our troops, about the impact that burning the korans will have. we debated about whether or not to put this pastor on tv. he is extremist and wants to spread his message as far and wide as he can. what he said in other tv interviews didn't jive about what he actually preaches. we wanted to confront him about that. let me walk you over to the wall. let me show you a little more about this church. the dove world outreach center. here is what you see outside the church, on church property. there's a sign that says "no homo mayor city hall." apparently the pastor hates the mayor of gainesville, florida, because he's gay. on tv, pastor jones says he's not against muslims but on his website, take a look at what he
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calls islam. over here, he calls islam a violent and oppressive religion that is trying to maskquerade -- by the way, he spelled masquerade wrong -- itself as a religion of peace, seeking to deceive our society. so, apparently he's not against muslims unless they practice islam. in a number of interviews he has repeatedly said muslims are free to practice their religion in america. he has no problem with that. but when he preaches, he certainly seems to have a problem with it. he says no new mosques should be built in the u.s. and no muslims should be allowed to immigrate to this country. take a look. >> stop islamic immigration. they are only coming to this country to -- to -- to take over, to try to enforce their population growth through -- through political means, through educational means. they're only coming here to try to enforce and force their laws, their islamic laws upon us. we should stop immediately.
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right now. stop right now, the building of all mosques in america. until they allow us to build churches in saudi arabia. until we can build churches in iran, iraq, in countries that are dominated by islam. >> pastor terry jones joins us now. pastor jones, as you know, david petraeus, the commander of u.s. forces in afghanistan said yesterday of your event, and i quote, it could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in afghanistan. it is precisely the kind of action the taliban uses and could cause significant problems, not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the islamic community. you're being warned by the u.s. military that your koran burning will put the lives of american servicemen and women in danger. does that give you pause at all? do you care about the safety of our troops? >> yes, it does.
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we are taking his concerns very seriously. >> what does that mean? are you going to continue -- are you going to burn the korans? >> right now we have plans to continue. we are thinking about it. we are praying about it. as i said, we are taking his concerns very seriously. we just have the concern as to how far do we go as americans? when do we back down? when does, actually, the time come that we speak to radical islam and we tell them no more, no longer? we will not be pushed around and we will not bow to threats. >> wait a minute. we fought a war in iraq against -- after saddam's forces against al qaeda in iraq. we're fighting a war against radical islam in afghanistan and in various places around the world. how can you say that we're not standing up? >> well, i think there's still an element within america that is not facing the actual truth of islam.
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>> it seems like you're placing your event above the safety of american troops. is the life of a marine, is the life of a single soldier not more important than your event? >> we think all lives are very important. and we are taking that very seriously. we still -- >> what does that mean? you say you're taking it seriously. and yet, you say you're still going to do it. when do you make a decision whether or not you're going to do it? >> as of right now, we are going to do it. we feel that this message is necessary. we feel that radical -- >> so, your event is more important than the possibility of an american soldier dying? your event is more important? >> we are willing to put our own lives on the line. >> sir, you're not putting your life on the line. the general is saying -- >> yes, i am. >> you're putting the life of a soldier or marine, service member on the line. you're saying your event is more important than potential damage, the potential killing of a u.s. soldier, u.s. marine. yes or no? >> we are putting our life upon the line. we do feel that this event is very, very important. it needs to send a message to
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radical islam. >> more important than the life of a marine or soldier? >> the end of radical islam. that that is it. we are burning the book. we are not killing someone. we are not murdering people. we are not dragging people out of the cars who are doctors and killing them. we are simply burning a book. the general needs to point his finger to radical islam and tell them to shut up. tell them to stop. tell them that we will not bow our knees to them. >> you've also said you are doing this on 9/11 to honor the memories of those murdered. do you know the names of anyone murdered on 9/11? >> i do not know the names, no. i don't have to know their names to honor them. >> do you know the name ramini rasul or sarah khan? >> no, i do not. >> all those people are muslims who died on 9/11, among many muslims killed by radical islamists. sarah khan was a cafeteria worker at the world trade center. >> that does not change our message. gary worked at cantor fitzgerald. and an accountant. how can you say -- you're
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honoring those who died on 9/11? how can you honor these muslims who died by burning the book that they used to worship here in america? >> our goal is to send a message to radical islam. >> you're saying you are honoring those who died. >> we do not want this type of activity. >> how are you honoring those muslims who died? do you not care about the muslims who died? >> we care about everyone who died. >> how do you honor them by burning their holy book? >> we believe sharia law is responsible for that. we got an e-mail today from a soldier. he was in vietnam for 11 years. he says that he believes that most of the military soldiers stand with us on this matter. >> sir, you're just ridiculous, if you're believing some anonymous e-mail from somebody. >> no, it was not anonymous. >> you're not paying attention. somebody who says they were in vietnam. and maybe they were. they're speaking for the entire u.s. military, when the general, who is commanding the troops, speaks for the troops and is charged with the protection of those troops gives you a direct message, this is endangering troops, you're ignoring that. you've said that islam is a
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religion of hate. look at the things on your website. you have a blog posted that describes the koran's teachings, quote, demonic stronghold under which muslims and the world suffer. >> yes. >> you say it's a stronghold of fear and violence. you have signs that say "no homo mayor." >> why do people defend muslim? look at muslim-dominated countries. >> you say there's no good muslims in the united states? millions of muslims who practice here peacefully and are american citizens? >> you cannot even obtain a driver's license if you are a woman. >> sir, i'm not defending the government of saudi arabia. it's one of the most oppressive governments around. believe me. i know well about it. you're talking about american muslims. >> muslim-dominated countries. all we are saying is that we do not want that. >> we'll have more with pastor jones right after the break. he talks about what's in the koran. but has he actually ever read the koran? we'll also ask him if he thinks he's a bigot. join us on our live chat at
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the imam is breaking his silence. he hasn't been heard on the issue for two months. will he be willing to move that building? find out in our panel, david gergen and andy sullivan and bruce feilar join us. later, the congresswoman and the scholarship scandal, following this story about a week, funneling charity money to her relatives. she told us she wasn't aware of the rules or ethics. now, there's new reporting that she was so hands-on that her signature was on letters, telling the charity to send the money not just to the school where her relatives were going, but send it directly to her relatives' pockets. ake care of everything? yep, even the rental. what if i'm stuck at the office? if you can't come to us, we'll come to you in one of our immediate response vehicles! what if mother won't let me drive? then you probably wouldn't have had an accident in the first place. and we're walkin'! and we're walkin'... making it all a bit easier -- now that's progressive!
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now with pastor terry jones, who says he still plans to burn korans on 9/11, despite pleas from fellow pastors, imams and rabbis not to. and a warning by general petraeus, the u.s. commander in afghanistan, that a koran burning would put american troops at risk. we spoke with pastor jones earlier in the evening. we had problems with the lighting during the interview. i apologize for that. i hope it's not too distracting. we spoke a short time ago. sir, on your website, on television you say one thing. on your website and in your preachings, you say something else. you say there should be no muslims allowed to immigrate to the united states and no new mosques should be allowed to be built in the united states. do you know -- do you deny saying that? >> no, i do not deny that. that is my opinion. but my opinion does not supersede the constitution. my opinion, we would be better off if we paid more attention. we would be better off if we really checked the muslims that immigrated here. we see that problem very clearly in europe. that is my opinion. that is not the constitution. so, i stand to the constitution
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that they have freedom of worship and freedom to build mosques. >> pastor jones, this afternoon many religious leaders held a press conference to denounce the increase in anti-islam fervor in this country and reverend richard cizik was there. i want you to listen to what he had to say. >> to those who would exercise derision, bigotry, open rejection of our fellow americans for their religious faith, i say shame on you. >> do you consider yourself a bigot? >> no, not at all. and we do not consider our message a message of hate. it is a clear message of warning. we have tried to make it very, very clear that, according to the united states constitution, muslims are more than welcome in america. they are welcome to worship. they are welcome to build mosques. we have made that very, very clear.
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i understand they're not in agreement and they're mad, angry. they're insulted because we are burning the koran. but they should, indeed, be with us on the fact that radical islam is bad. it is evil. we do not want it in this country. >> the vast majority of muslims in the united states would agree that radical islam is a bad thing and many have worked to fight it. but i asked you about the bigotry because the definition of a bigot that i got off is a person intolerant of any ideas other than his own especially on religion, politics and race. you do appear to be remarkably intolerant on any ideas other than your own regarding religion. >> we are, as the bible teaches, as jesus teaches, we are intolerant, yes. >> if being a bigot is being intolerant of anyone else's ideas on religion other than your own, you would say, yes, you're a bigot?
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>> we believe there is only one way and that is jesus christ. people have freedom to worship as they please. that is what i said. >> you're saying people have -- >> that's what the bible says. the bible says jesus christ is the only way. >> you say people have freedom to worship in this country. >> jesus christ is the only way. >> you're stating a fact there. but that's not your desire. you don't want muslims to have freedom to worship in this country. you don't want muslims to build new mosques here. you don't want muslims coming to the united states. correct? >> that is not correct and it depends on who you are asking. >> you say stop all islamic immigration, you're only coming to this land to take over and try to enforce the islamic laws upon us. you say stop building all mosques until churches can be built in saudi arabia. you don't want muslims coming here and you don't want new mosques being built. i know you're not saying that's the law under the constitution, they can. but you're saying you don't like
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that. >> it is my opinion, yes. as i said, as a christian, i wish that all muslims would get saved. i wish that they would all convert to christianity. christianity is the one and only true religion. the koran, in our opinion, is an evil book. >> have you read the koran, pastor? >> i have read only parts of the koran. but i -- >> excerpts? >> i know the koran denies the deity of christ. >> you've never read the book? i'm just asking. >> jesus has risen from the dead. he is the only savior. >> you never read the book? >> i know what the bible says about the koran. >> have you read the bible? >> yes, i have read the bible. >> you haven't read the koran? >> do you want to know what the bible says about the koran? >> i'm asking, have you read the koran? >> no. if you add to this book, let them be a curse. that's what the bible says. >> i hope you think about this, pray on it more and come to some other conclusion about what you're going to do this weekend. appreciate your time tonight, sir. thank you. >> all right. thank you. >> again, i apologize for the lighting issues. what do you think? the live chat is up and running
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at up next, the imam of the islamic center near ground zero, speaking out and saying he has made a decision. we'll have his decision and reaction from folks on all sides of the controversial issue. detroit tonight, more than a dozen homes, buildings up in flames. st seemed like a great day to save. oh, it's not just today. with our free loyalty program, you earn great stuff like accident forgiveness and bigger discounts just by staying with us. oh! ooh! so, what you're saying is, it gets even better with age. oh! tell me we're still talking about insurance. rewarding loyalty. now, that's progressive. call or click today. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no more $2, $3 fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no more paying to access your own money. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 it'd be like every atm in the world was your atm. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 the schwab bank high yield investor checking(tm) account.
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breaking news in the battle over the islamic community
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center and mosque planned here near ground zero in new york. the imam is finally breaking his silence, appearing on cnn on a special edition of "larry king live." just before we went on air, "the new york times" issued an op-ed. we are proceeding with the community center, corboda house. more important, we are doing so with the support of the downtown community, government at all levels and leaders from across the religious spectrum, who will be our partners. i am convinced that this is the right thing to do for many reasons. he described it as a shared space for community activities and says he is very sensitive to the feeling of the families of the victims of 9/11. no doubt there will be strong reaction to his words tonight. david gergen, best-selling author, bruce feifal and andy sullivan, new york city construction worker and blue collar corner blog. as soon as your mic works, guys in the control room, let me know.
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bruce, what do you make of this? in the op-ed, he never explains why he thinks the mosque needs to be built and in that location. >> i think he leaves himself a little wiggle room the way i read it, actually. i was a little surprised because i think and believed for some time this was going to end up in some sort of compromise. ultimately, i don't think it's a real estate issue, two blocks, four blocks, versus ten blocks. he goes on to talk about this quite eloquently, an issue of american values. anderson, it would be easy to sit here and say that at every critical moment in america, american values have prevailed. if you look at moments of tension in american history, there has been rival forces. in the 1840s and '50s, an entire political party was built around anti-catholic bias. in the 1930s, we had huge amounts of anti-semitism. in the 1850s, they said that lincoln was catholic. they said that roosevelt was jewish. now here we are in another moment of economic anxiety and we're having sort of an islamic backlash.
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but i think that what's going on and what's really the opportunity that we have here is that after 9/11, i went and wrote this book on abraham. abdul rauf is quoted in the book. i've done 200 interfaith activities in the decade. and in every single one, people will stand up, often more than one, and say where are the moderate muslims? here is a moderate muslim. the question is, is this moderate voice going to be able to prevail or will we meet extremism with extremism as we heard in the prior segment? >> andy, you say they have the right to build it, absolutely, but they shouldn't build it there. >> correct. >> why? >> i believe it's an aggressive act, almost penetrated act. you're digging into old wounds and tearing it up. do you know how many double funerals i had to go to after 9/11? it was -- the pain -- you have to relive that whole pain again. first you have a funeral with no body. then they discover a teaspoon of dna and then you have another funeral. now we have this.
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i feel like this is 9/11, the second wave. >> there are those who say, look, this imam has been practicing his faith in this neighborhood. he has run a mosque there for many, many years and nobody complained about it. in fact, he is part of the community. >> you know what? first of all, i agree with a lot of what bruce had to say except the one thing. i don't think he's a moderate. all the stuff coming out as of late points to him not being moderate at all. >> wait. the u.s. state department actually sends him out to represent the united states and you -- >> i give no credibility to the state department whatsoever. first of all, all i see is a guy who is running a slum lord out in jersey city who owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. and you got to see the place, with the bed bugs, exposed wiring, piping in the wall and mold conditions. this is a man of credibility, of faith who cares about love and god, and he lets these people live like animals? i'm sorry. i'm not buying it.
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>> david gergen, what do you make of this? you raised the issue when we discussed this with fareed zakaria a while back, when there was going to be a convent built near auschwitz. though they had the right to do it, the pope said let's not do it. >> i am among those who are torn about this. i think the imam is a well-respected man. and the fact that the state department supported him. he was well checked out before he was sent abroad to represent the united states. clearly, they have the right to build a mosque and cultural center here. at the same time, the fact that two-thirds of new yorkers, people who live in the city, tell "the new york times" that they oppose it. people who are opposing it are not bigots. some are, but there are a lot of people who are offended. there ought to be some way to work this out. you can get a plus out of this. there are many universities that have interfaith religious centers where people pray in the same space but muslims, jews and
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christians all use those centers and equally it belongs to all equally. it seems to me we might be able to work out some resolution where the imam would join up with a christian leader and a jewish leader and try to figure out how to make this a true interfaith center, which i think people could support. >> he writes in the op-ed, let me read to our viewers what he said, the center will have, quote, separate prayer spaces for muslims, christians, jews and men and women of other faiths. the center will also include a multi-faith memorial dedicated to victims of the september 11th attacks. you say that's not enough? >> if you go to their original website posting, it was described in the original website posting as essentially a muslim center, and the mosque has been a prominent part of this larger cultural center. it's also true there is a practical issue here. and i don't know whether this imam -- where he is going to get the money. it's a $100 million enterprise.
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politico has reported, cnn reported, randi kaye, reported this nonprofit group or muslim group has been unable to raise many funds. they raised $18,000 in 2008, the most recent report filed with the new york attorney general. i think if they went and created a true interfaith center, which all of us could give money to and happily do it -- i think bruce feilar has been an eloquent spokesperson for this interfaith effort, and to try to advance interfaith understanding, i think that all of us could rally to that. >> let me ask andy, is that something you would buy, you would buy into? >> i don't think so. we haven't spoken about his partner, sharif al migar. the real -- waiter turned real estate mogul. >> you have a lot of questions about the funding of this, the background of these people? >> absolutely. he was convicted in 2005 of beating a man into the hospital and actually was charged -- fined $15,000. he beat the man so badly.
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>> a lot of people say, look, if you start looking into the backgrounds of lots of people affiliated with organizations you're probably going to find -- >> listen, i'm a street kid from brooklyn. you're not going to find that in my background. i never beat anybody into the hospital. >> neither have i, just for the record. >> god bless you. >> interfaith harmony right on this very set. let me pick up on what david said. i think what we're actually witnessing, as messy as it is, is a laboratory of co-existence. we're talking about a conversation that is happening about where should it be. let's pick up on what david said. he seems to be evolving what this interfaith center is going to look like. this is progress. this is what we're really talking about. we are now nine years and three days, whatever it is, away from the original 9/11, where we had on this very night nine years ago, people planning this attack. what are those planes going into those buildings other than saying my god is better than your god?
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we just had on cnn for ten minutes another figure saying, my god is better than your god. it's the same work. we are talking about people burning korans, of setting fire to mosques in tennessee. >> in murphysboro. >> what's happened is the debate is being dominated by the extremists. the vast majority of people in the middle are saying what you're hearing here. i understand they should do it. maybe they shouldn't have it here. the rooms should be different. that is what interfaith looks like, this dialogue and it's going to come up with some sort of compromise, which is still where i think this will end. >> andy spoke very eloquently about the emotion, though, not just for new yorkers but so many people who lost loved ones and just witnessed it themselves. it's such an emotional issue that everybody comes at it from a different way. some people come at it from pure emotion and some people come at it from freedom of religion and freedom of speech. and say look, they absolutely
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have the right. >> that's okay. he was one of the great patriots who was down there, trying to rebuild and restore american values. we fought a war in the 1940s against japan. japan is now an ally of ours. we fought a war against germany. within years, we were rebuilding germany and japan. there is a great -- same thing with vietnam in the 1960s, where 50,000 americans died. there is a great tradition in this country of fighting conflict and rebuilding together. that is the opportunity that we have here. are we going to continue to have conflict? or are we going to have some way we can rebuild? i'm betting from just the time i've been with andy that we can find a way to get something built, get these people involved and -- who were involved in the -- saving of ground zero in the wake of 9/11 and try to find a new model here. >> anderson, let me just echo bruce. i think he's on the right track. we have an alternative here. either we can sort of raise our voices and go after each other and we're going to unleash the
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kind of ugliness we saw with the proposition of koran burning, the intolerance and hatred that we see there, and the bigotry, or we can seek a more constructive way to see if we can make something good out of this. reasonable people can disagree about whether you put a mosque there. but i think a lot of people in this country would come together and say let's make something constructive out of this in which we can join together and feel some sense of unity. what's the motto of this country? e pluris unum. for many, one. that's what we have to remember we're all about. >> everything you say, you gentlemen are speaking very well, a lot better than i do. that's for sure. but when i was at the landmarks commission and it went 9-0 to destroy that building, a building which should have been slated for landmark status just for the fact that the landing gear hit the roof and that was technically the first strike before the plane hit the
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building and it was on the docket for 20 years. it was stunning how they voted 9-0 to destroy the building. i look to my right and see this elderly couple clutching each other, and a photo of their firefighter son, who obviously perished in the 9/11 attacks and then i look to my left and i see sharif, daisy khan and their lawyer and they're laughing and kissing and hugging. this beautiful interfaith gathering, is this the group you want doing it? to me, i wouldn't let these people open up a bowling alley, much less an interfaith center. >> we'll leave it there. really good discussion. appreciate all your perspectives. bruce feilar, andy sullivan and david gergen. the imam has granted cnn an exclusive interview. imam feisal abdul rauf will be on "larry king live" tomorrow co-hosted by soledad o'brien. we'll also be replaying a lot of it on this program and discussing it with a large panel. just ahead, the
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leaving you at greater risk for heart attack and stroke. your doctor may use genetic tests to determine treatment. don't stop taking plavix without talking to your doctor as your risk of heart attack or stroke may increase. people with stomach ulcers or conditions that cause bleeding should not use plavix. taking plavix alone or with some other medicines including aspirin may increase bleeding risk, so tell your doctor when planning surgery. tell your doctor all medicines you take including aspirin especially if you've had a stroke. if fever, unexplained weakness or confusion develops, tell your doctor promptly. these may be signs of ttp, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, reported sometimes less than two weeks after starting plavix. other rare but serious side effects may occur. [ female announcer ] talk to your doctor about plavix. a lot of other stories we're following. isha sesay joins us with the "360 bulletin." isha?
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across detroit tonight, fires being blamed on downed electrical wires and high winds, according to local news reports. as many as 85 fires were reported over a 4-hour period. at least 17 structures have been lost. meantime, colorado's governor has declared a state of emergency as a 7,100-acre wildfire rages near boulder. that blaze is threatening hundreds of homes and has forced thousands to flee to safety. hermine has been downgraded to a tropical depression, but still is dumping heavy rain over texas, 24 hours after making land fall in mexico as a tropical storm. its remnants, today, caused flooding around san antonio, where strong winds blew the roof off of an apartment complex. anderson, listen up. a possible plea deal is in the works for the former jetblue flight attendant, who became a
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folk hero, when he deployed the plane's emergency chute after arguing with a passenger. he appeared in court today with his lawyer. he faces felony charges of reckless endangerment and criminal mischief as well as criminal trespass. the judge says he will consider requiring slater to attend anger management and alcohol/drug abuse counseling as part of a plea agreement. i love this story. >> it's interesting. he was a hero, then questions were raised and people turned against him. now, i don't know. i don't know where i stand on him anymore. >> well, what i will tell you is that he still has over 200,000 fans on facebook and has legal defense funds. if you have loose cash rolling around in your pockets, anderson, you know where to send it. steven slater. >> i'm sure as soon as the court case is over, he will do the rounds of television. >> he was also in court with a publicist today, so you can be sure of that. >> oh. >> and made-for-tv movie is being considered. >> really? >> will you watch, anderson? >> if it doesn't involve any of the salahis from the "real housewives of washington," i will watch it. >> the viewing party is at
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yours. >> all right. still ahead, new details about a scandal involving a texas lawmaker. we thought this story was going away, but new details keep coming out. a house democrat who steered scholarship money from a charity to her own relatives and a staffer's children. she said she had no idea there was anything unethical about it. but new evidence suggests she played a more direct role than she has claimed on this program. also ahead, richard daley's big announcement after 20 years in office.
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so, a pretty stunning update to our story on dallas congresswoman eddie bernice johnson. you'll recall she's admitted to steering scholarship money from the congressional black caucus foundation, a charity, to her grandchildren, two great-nephews and two children of a top staffer. new reporting tonight, casting doubt on her claim that she was hands off about the process. before we get to it, i just want to play you her exact words. listen. >> i was not aware of the rules. the rules have been very ambiguous. there were some rules that come out last year. but, you know, i have acknowledged that i made a mistake. i've tried to make everything whole. i have paid all the money out of my personal funds. and i'm ready to move on. there are too many things that i need to be working on in my district, which i do every day. >> but acknowledging mistake is different from actually looking back at how that mistake was made with the idea of trying to correct it so it doesn't happen again. you say -- >> well, i hope it doesn't.
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it won't happen again with me. and clearly, you know, i've never promised to be perfect. i would love to be, but i'm not. >> well, you say the rules -- >> when i feel that i have made a mistake, i try to correct it. >> you say the rules were ambiguous prior to last year and you didn't know what the rules were. we found the 2008 scholarship application. and, on it, it says, quote, employees and/or relatives of cbc members, cbc spouses, cbc foundation, the board of directors, are ineligible for the scholarship program. we also went back and found the 2006 guidelines from four years ago. and it says the exact same things, employees and/or relatives of cbc members, cbc spouses, cbc foundation, the board of directors, are ineligible for the scholarship program. that seems not ambiguous. >> i didn't even realize they were in print, as i indicated. i have no reason not to tell the truth. i did not know they were in print. when it has been brought to my attention, it has been corrected. i returned the money out of my
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personal money. and i'm ready to move on. >> you say you didn't know it was in print. but clearly members of your staff knew that those were printed in the rules because when your grandsons and grandnephews and the members -- family members of your staff who got this money for several years in a row, every time they sent in an application, they had to promise that they weren't a relative of you or anyone connected with the cbc. so, people on your staff -- >> well, i admit that i made a mistake. i did not realize that. >> no, no, but the people on your staff knew the rules. so, are you -- have you looked into who on your staff knew the rules? >> anderson, i acknowledged that i was negligent. i've acknowledged that i made a mistake. when it was called to my attention, i tried to correct it. >> she also went on to say that she didn't dwell thinking about how to get $1,000 to her grandsons. that was her claim then. so, that was congresswoman johnson on "360" last week, downplaying her knowledge of the rules and her involvement in the
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application process. today, her opponent -- she is running for her tenth term in congress -- her opponent released letters that, if they are legitimate, appear to be on the congresswoman's letterhead written to the scholarship people. mrs. meek, one of the letters reads, please accept the enclosed scholarship checks for preston and gregory moore, her great-nephews. if possible, i would like for their checks to be made out to them instead of the university. thank you, in advance, for your cooperation, eddie bernice johnson. so, it certainly seems more hands-on than the congresswoman implied when she said she didn't dwell on ways to get the money to her grandkids. this letter seems to indicate she did. there's a letter written on behalf of her two grandkids. these are released by her challenger. we haven't confirmed if they are real, nor has "the dallas morning news." the congresswoman's office has not said one way or the other. there's a time stamp on it from the fax machine at the congresswoman's office. we got no comment from their
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office, no reply. i talked about it earlier with todd gillman, washington bureau chief, of "the dallas morning news," who broke this story, and melanie sloan, ethics and responsibility. >> at this point, if these letters weren't legitimate, you think their office would have said look these aren't real. they haven't responded either way. but assuming these letters are legitimate, what do they tell us? >> they tell us that the congresswoman was very involved in arranging these scholarships. they tell us that the congresswoman wanted, for some reason, to have the scholarship funds paid directly to her grandsons and great-nephews rather than to their universities. how many times in the past week or so that she has said she was pretty hands off, it was up to her chief of staff to deal with these scholarships, this says that she was pretty hands on. >> if memory serves me, in the first interview she did with
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you, she said, well, i just recognized their names on a list. and then she actually said that she did not directly get involved, right? >> right. she certainly was trying to leave the impression, or she did leave the impression that it was sort of a passive role that she had, that the applications came in. she didn't encourage these relatives of hers and her aide to apply. they just filtered up through the process. she saw their names on a list and that was it. if she was directly involved in asking the foundation to disperse the funds in a particular way, that is a much more hands-on role. >> she specifically said to me, i have not dwelled on how to figure out a way to give my grandkids $1,000 a year. maybe it was a quick letter, she didn't need to dwell on the letter. that doesn't seem to be accurate, what she has said. >> members of congress write or at least sign hundreds, if not thousands of letters, every year.
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it is certainly possible that someone put this in front of her and asked her to sign it and it was just, you know, paperwork to shuffle along. but with relatives involved i think a lot of our readers, at least, are having a hard time believing that. >> melanie, is it okay for her to write a letter and ask that the money from this foundation, from this charity not go to the school, which i think is what it's supposed to, but to go directly to her grandkids? >> no, it's clearly not okay. i don't believe for a second she didn't know. she obviously directed staff to prepare the letter to the foundation to say that the money should go directly to her grandchildren. for her to fain a lack of knowledge at this point is hard to fathom. >> you say that the house ethics committee probably just wants this thing to go away. why? >> the house ethics committee has a lot of problems right now. we're going to be seeing trials of two members of the cbc this fall, maxine waters and charlie rangel. >> you're saying there's a racial angle they don't want to be seen as going after -- raising ethical questions about a third member of the congressional black caucus? >> yes, because the cbc has been
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raising issues about the ethics committee, suggesting that cbc members are being targeted. >> do you think it should go away, melanie? >> no, i don't. i think ethics is an issue of right and wrong, not black and white. >> the ethics committee might want it to go away. do you think it will? it does seem like this story continues. when we started doing this, and you broke it, and we started following up, we didn't expect it to continue on and on. the congresswoman keeps saying i'm moving on, but the evidence keeps bubbling up. >> well, we did not manage to uncover all of the facts at the outset. so, in a way, that's just an inevitable part of the reporting process, that more facts will come out as people see we're writing about it and others are talking about it, such as yourself. more people come forward with information. we certainly asked for that and we hope for that. >> is her seat in jeopardy? she's running for re-election, a tenth term.
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>> right. it is an extremely safe democratic district historically. when she was in the state senate before she ran and won the seat in 1992, she basically crafted this district to her own specifications. it's a very, very safe seat. but her challenger has been bludgeoning her for now several days about this. there are many, many voters in the district who are very upset about it. so, it could have a backlash. on the other hand, she's an entrenched incumbent with a major financial advantage in a district that is heavily democratic. >> you're a former prosecutor. is there a potential criminal angle here? >> yes, several potential crimes. crimes involving fraud and conversion and there's conspiracy to commit fraud and conversion. >> conversion is what? >> where you take property that was intended to be one thing and use it for another. if money was supposed to go directly to the scholarships and instead it went into these kids' pockets, that could be conversion. clearly a potential crime. it seems very unlikely to me that the department of justice would take this on. the money, dollar amount isn't high enough. texas state authorities
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certainly could look into this. >> todd, do we know total -- do you know total how much in charity money went to her relatives and the relatives of her staff member? >> we have reported $31,000 spread over 23 scholarships to these 6 students. four who are related to her and two who are related to her top aide in dallas. >> none of whom lived in the district, as they were supposed to under the rules, or went to school in the district? >> correct. >> it's a fascinating story. we continue to follow it. todd gillman, melanie sloan, thanks. more raw politics. after more than two decades, chicago mayor richard daley making a big announcement. what he said today. the man who killed john lennon up for parole again. decision coming up.
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my joints ache so bad, i wake up in pain every day. i want to know why. i want to know why my hair is falling out. how did this happen? how did this happen? a little pain in my knee. that's how it started. that's how it started, this rash on my face. now it's like my body is attacking me. i want answers. announcer: when you don't have the right answers, it may be time to ask your doctor the right question. could i have lupus?
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isha sesay joins us again. with the "360 news and business bulletin." isha? >> thank you, anderson. a gunman posing as a military officer opened fire at a military compound in northern iraq, killing two u.s. soldiers and wounding nine others. the first american deaths in iraq since the end of the u.s. combat mission last week.
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parole is denied for john lennon's killer. a new york board rejected mark chapman's application was denied for the sixth time. he shot and killed the former beatle 30 years ago this december. chicago mayor richard daley says he is not seeking another term, that it's time for him to move on. he has been mayor since 1989. computermaker hewlett-packard has filed a lawsuit. against former ceo mark hurd to stop him from working at a software company, oracle, claiming he has put their most valuable trade secrets in peril. screaming children are no longer welcome at this restaurant. >> yikes. >> olde salty restaurant on carolina beach put up signs to warn parents. the owner is actually saying it has brought in more customers than kept them away, but some parents, anderson, are absolutely outraged. >> yeah. >> we should tell you how this works. basically a restaurant employee will go up to said screaming child and said parent, having the meltdown and the embarrassment, and will say take it outside. >> wow!